There are 7 games across NIHL1 South this weekend, with 5 of them also contributing to the group stages of the cup competition.
Cup and League action
The group stages of the cup competition, which sees the first set of home/away fixtures between each team counting towards qualification is coming to a close. Swindon and Peterborough have already qualified with games in hand while 3 teams (Raider, MK and Invicta) have already been eliminated. That leaves 3 teams fighting for the remaining two spots in the semi-finals.
There are just 3 games of interest left in this competition now:
25NOV: Streatham vs Basingstoke
01DEC: Basingstoke vs Bracknell
22DEC: Bracknell vs Swindon
A regulation win for Streatham will guarantee them qualification and leave Bees and Bison battling for the final spot (Bison would need to beat Bees in regulation and hope that Swindon also beat Bees in regulation).
A regulation win for Bison will eliminate Streatham and qualify both themselves and Bees.
If the game on Sunday goes to OT then it gets a lot more complicated and we’ll look at the algorithms next week if that happens! But all three teams will still be able to both qualify and be eliminated at that point!
The last meeting between Streatham and Basingstoke ended in OT with Ashley Tait bagging the extra point for the Bison, but appears to have been a pretty close-fought game with both netminders facing 33 shots in total. Sunday’s game could be equally as exciting.
Raiders will also face Peterborough in the other game that counts towards both cup and league. It may be a dead rubber as far as cup qualification is concerned but is certainly anything but for the league. Raiders will be looking to continue their winning form after their dramatic comeback and OT win against the Bees last weekend, while Phantoms will be looking to bounce back after their first regulation loss in the league. The last time the teams met, a short-benched Raiders stunned their hosts with a buzzer-beating OT goal at 64:59.
League only action
Dynamos and Thunder will meet in MK again for the second weekend running on Sunday. Last weekend, Mos went into the weekend with some hopes of picking up their first league points but a poor performance saw them take a big 7-0 loss home. They will need to have had some major regrouping if they want to change that result this weekend. MK in contrast looked excellent against the Mos and clearly deserved the win, they will simply want to reproduce that kind of form again.
Prior to that in an away double-header they will first travel to title-hopefuls Peterborough, who have beaten them comfortably in both games so far this season. Given the depth of the Phantoms, a Mos win is probably not likely but they will want to at least improve the scoreline from their 13-1 and 9-2 losses to them so far this season. At the same time, they need to make sure they leave something in the tank to face MK with.
MK will also have a tough fixture on Saturday as they travel to new league leaders Swindon. Swindon took revenge for both their Autumn Cup semi-final loss to the Phantoms and the OT loss against Bison by beating both in regulation last weekend which saw them hit the top of the table for the first time this season. They will want to make sure they cement that top spot with a win against Thunder.
Saturday also sees Raiders travel to Basingstoke. The last time the sides met, in Romford, Bison scored 3 goals in as many minutes in the second period to give themselves a 3-1 lead and despite Raiders pulling the net-minder and scoring a final minute goal to bring them within one, Bison were able to hold on to their lead and won 4-3 in regulation.
Our last (but most certainly not least) game to talk about, sees a very tasty fixture as Wildcats travel to Bracknell to face the Bees on Sunday. The two pre-season favourites have only met once so far this season, also at the Hive, where a back and forth humdinger went to OT before Swindon grabbed the extra point. While it’s a bit early to talk about ‘must win’ games for the title, this is about as close as it can get in November for the Bees. Wildcats and Phantoms already have quite a few games in hand over them and if they want to keep up the pace they need to be winning some of their games against those two sides.
We’ll also have live updates from across the whole of #oneNIHL all weekend. We’re still considering our options in terms of attending a live game at the moment.
Looking for info on the NIHL2 South games? You can find the NIHL2 South preview HERE where our NIHL2 correspondent Laurence Thorn takes a look at all the action in that league this weekend.
18:15 Swindon Wildcats vs Milton Keynes Thunder (NIHL1)
18:30 Basingstoke Bison vs Raiders (NIHL1)
19:00 Peterborough Phantoms vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
17:30 Raiders vs Peterborough Phantoms (NIHL1 and Cup)
18:00 Bracknell Bees vs Swindon Wildcats (NIHL1)
18:45 Milton Keynes Thunder vs Invicta Dynamos (NIHL1)
18:45 Streatham IHC vs Basingstoke Bison (NIHL1 and Cup)
Tables for active competitions this weekend
NIHL1 Britton League
NIHL1 South Cup Group Stage